The Dallas Stars travel to what is pretty well their Canadian sister city, Calgary, for a dance with the Flames. The Stars are sitting there waiting for the team to catch fire, as they currently are 4-6-3 on the year. Tyler Seguin has been on fire, though, who fortunately avoided what could have been a catastrophic injury. Seguin suffered a knee injury in a pre-tournament game of the World Cup of Hockey, which signaled the end for him. Team Canada didn’t need him much, as they went on to win the gold medal. The Stars certainly need him in the lineup. Seguin has been providing a spark lately, scoring three goals and four assists in his last five games.
Dallas won just one game during that stretch, including three losses in a row in their last three tilts. In other words, Seguin needs some help. Those three goals are more than Jamie Benn has all season, where he as 2 with 7 assists. I’m not too worried about Benn, though. Sidney Crosby took forever to get going last season, but boy when he did he didn’t let up.
I expect Benn and the Stars to get things going eventually. Playing below .500 hockey is uncharted waters for the Stars, who got used to playing great regular season hockey last season. As Aaron Rodgers would say though, everyone has to relax. We’re still in the infancy of the season, and the Stars could catch fire and be four or five games above .500 in no time. Last season it took the Ducks the entire first-half of the season for them to get things into gear. I see no reason why the Stars won’t do the same. Antti Niemi will get a look in net tonight for the Stars. The season hasn’t been going well in Dallas, but it’s been going awful for Niemi. His counterpart, Brian Elliott, in his first season with the Flames could say the same. Let’s get down to the pick for Thursday night on the ice below.
What made the Stars a playoff team a year ago, compared to previous seasons? The defence for Dallas became a respectable unit, not great, but an average unit who was able to help out at least. The offence took care of the rest. As we enter the mid-way point of November, the defence hasn’t been there for the Stars, like it was a year ago. Niemi has to get some blame here, too. He comes into Calgary with a GAA of 3.65, as well as a save percentage at 0.892. Not good at all. Additionally, the Stars are ranked 26th in the NHL, allowing 3.54 goals per game.
Right behind the Stars are the Flames, who are 27th in the NHL with 3.57 goals allowed per game. Elliott has had a rough go of it in his first season with the Flames. He makes the transition from a perennial winner in St. Louis, to a Flames team who were dysfunctional a year ago. Elliott has posted a GAA of 3.33, including a save percentage of 0.887. The defence in Calgary is not the same as in St. Louis, but there also comes a time when Elliott has to put the team on his back and steal some games. This is what they’re paying him to do. In any event, I like lots of scoring tonight, so the possibility of the game going OVER is a good one.
PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (-110)